Public Lands

Public Lands Watch: Izembek National Wildlife Refuge

Interior Department proposes to authorize road through wildlife refuge in Alaska

Tom Schumann authored this blog post. News outlets report that the Interior Department, reversing a decision made under President Obama, has agreed to a land exchange with an Alaska Native village that would allow construction of a road across a national wildlife refuge that provides important habitat for migratory birds, bears, caribou, and other species. […]

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ Most Important Environmental Law Decisions of 2017

Constitutional Issues, Water Law, Native American Rights Dominate Court’s Environmental Docket

Happy New Year! As we move into 2018, let’s take a look back at the most significant environmental law decisions issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2017. Conventional wisdom is that the second most important federal court in the nation (after the U.S. Supreme Court) is the D.C. Circuit […]

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Public Lands Watch: HR 4239

House bill would give states control of oil and gas leasing process, weaken Presidential power to restrict leasing

Tom Schumann drafted this blog post. Provisions tucked in a House oil and gas development bill would repeal one of the oldest conservation laws and scale back another. The provisions show House Republicans working to make rollbacks by the Trump Administration permanent, consistent with the administration’s “America First” energy campaign. H.R. 4239, reported out of […]

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What’s in Trump’s Proclamations on Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments

An analysis of the new proclamations and the legal issues they raise

On Monday, President Trump signed two proclamations, downsizing the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah. These two proclamations are the first official acts by Trump to implement the recommendations from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s national monuments review this summer. (Zinke’s final report and recommendations were just made public yesterday. In a short […]

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Public Lands Watch: ANWR and Monuments Updates

Updates on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and National Monuments

Two updates on issues that we have been following. First, the Senate passed a tax bill that opens up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development – though an initial version of that provision which would have relaxed environmental review of development in the refuge was stripped out.  The bill likely will […]

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President Trump’s national monument rollback is illegal and likely to be reversed in court

Authored by Nicholas Bryner, Eric Biber, Mark Squillace, and Sean B. Hecht

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Supporters of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments during a rally Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 in Salt Lake City. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer On Dec. 4, President Trump traveled to Utah to sign proclamations downsizing Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent […]

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Public Lands Watch: National Park Fee Increases

Park Service proposes to more than double fees at popular parks for peak times

On October 24, the National Park Service published a proposal to hike entrance fees in 17 of the most popular parks—including Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon—during peak visitation seasons. The per-vehicle fee during peak season would rise to $70 from the current range of $25 to $30. The plan would also raise the per-person […]

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Public Lands Watch: Resilient Federal Forests Act

Bill to reduce environmental protections for timber management on federal lands passes House

The Resilient Federal Forests Act (RFFA), H.R. 2936—which would curb environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for a variety of forest management activities on National Forest and BLM lands—passed the House November 1. (We previously wrote about a version of this bill in committee here.) NEPA requires agencies to consider whether proposed […]

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Public Lands Watch: Sage grouse

Interior Dept. considering revisions to protection for iconic species

The greater sage-grouse is the largest grouse species in North America, about the size of a domestic chicken.  Estimates for its historic population are that it numbered 1.1 million across the sagebrush plains throughout the Western United States and Canada.  The grouse depends on sagebrush habitat, but that habitat is declining due to a range […]

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Public Lands Watch: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Senate budget resolution being considered this week could open refuge to oil drilling

One of the longest lasting fights over the federal public lands has been whether to open up portions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas development. The Refuge is one of the most important and largest protected areas in North America – it is unusual in that it protects the […]

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